The U.S. Air Force, through its Space Enterprise Consortium, plans to increase the availability of commercial space technologies in its military projects in 2019 and to encourage collaboration between large defense contractors, space vendors and startups, Space News reported Monday.
Air Force Capt. Benjamin Leaf, SpEC program manager, said the consortium would serve as “a strong avenue“ to close the gap between traditional defense vendor pool and nontraditional vendors.
SpEC plans to utilize Other Transactions Authorities and issue simpler acquisition regulations and solicitations to attract more companies to work with the government and its industry partners.
“We are changing space acquisitions in multiple ways,“ Leaf said. “This allows for teaming and understanding innovative capabilities.“
The Air Force established SpEC in 2018 to help speed up development and prototyping of satellites, ground systems, space sensors and other space technologies.
The consortium currently manages 34 projects worth nearly $110M and recently secured another $400M in funding to launch additional projects over the next four years.
Leaf said the Pentagon in fiscal year 2019 plans to focus on space situational awareness, navigational user equipment, space weather sensors, software processing and a potential requirement from the Army, among other projects.